Reverend Jesse Jackson to Deliver Commencement Address to Graduates of Virginia College in Birmingham

Feb 20, 2011

Officials at Virginia College's Birmingham, Alabama, campus announced today that Reverend Jesse Jackson will deliver the commencement address to graduates, their guests and school staff at the ceremony on February 20. Reverend Jackson is one of the country's foremost civil rights, religious and political figures and a very active supporter of empowerment through education. Over the last forty years, he has played a pivotal role in virtually every movement for peace, civil rights, and economic and social justice.

WHAT: Reverend Jesse Jackson to deliver commencement address for Virginia College graduates, guests, and staff
WHEN: Sunday, February 20, 2011, 3 PM
WHERE: Birmingham-Jefferson Civic Center Arena

"We are honored that Reverend Jackson has agreed to deliver our commencement address," says Tom Moore, CEO of Education Corporation of America, which is headquartered in Birmingham and is the parent company of Virginia College. "He has been a strong and vocal supporter of the kind of practical educational alternatives we provide our students and has expressed to me how excited he is to come meet and speak to our graduates."

Virginia College holds commencement exercises twice annually and will graduate 387 students at its winter commencement on February 20. The school, which has been serving Birmingham students and employers for almost thirty years, offers over two-dozen academic programs at its campus in the Palisades Center, just off Oxmoor Road. The school specializes in preparing graduates for careers in job fields in which growth is expected and employer demand is greatest. These fields include health and medical, business, information technology, personal care, culinary arts, and interior design.

A native of Greenville, South Carolina, Reverend Jackson began his activism while still a college student and went on to work side-by-side as a full-time organizer with Dr. Martin Luther King. He founded Operation PUSH in December 1971 with the goal of expanding educational, business and employment opportunities for the disadvantaged and people of color. He later established the National Rainbow Coalition, a social justice organization devoted to political empowerment, education, and public policy change.

Reverend Jackson twice ran for the office of president of the United States, garnering millions of votes and inspiring untold numbers to join the political process.

"I support a broad range of policies to improve education, eliminate poverty, and remind everyone that we are a 'One Big Tent America,' with room for all and none left in the margins," Reverend Jackson says.

Reverend Jackson was on the Gallup List of the Ten Most Respected Americans for more than a dozen years, holds over forty honorary doctorate degrees, and has lectured at many major colleges and universities, including Harvard, Yale, Princeton, Howard, Columbia and Stanford. As a highly respected and trusted world leader, Reverend Jackson has acted many times as an international diplomat in sensitive situations and was appointed by President Bill Clinton and Secretary of State Madeline Albright as "Special Envoy for the Promotion of Democracy in Africa."

He and his wife, Jacqueline, have been married forty-seven years and have five children, including Jesse Jackson, Jr., who represents a district in Illinois in the U.S. Congress.

About Education Corporation of America

Education Corporation of America is a leader in the post-secondary career school market with current enrollment of over 19,000 students. The ECA website is